Social media provides an array of new ‘touch points’ for B2B companies to interact with prospects and customers. Due to two ways, real – time attributes, social media tools enable a highly personal brand experience for B2B market. The convenience of social media allows more B2B marketers to build relationships with current and prospective customers and building relationships are core to all B2B marketing and sales efforts. With social media, companies now have access to a world of new markets and new business leads.
Here are some social media marketing benefits that B2B companies can enjoy. Even though the basic social media principles of B2C marketing apply to B2B businesses, we must note that the B2B market is much smaller than the B2C market and thus, expanding reach is imperative for identifying and generating new business leads.
Increasing brand awareness via Social Media
Branding is a crucial process for any business. It basically acts as a quality cue for potential buyers. An unknown brand signals lower quality, and when in doubt, customers would go for a brand they are familiar with. This is especially so for B2B brands, with products that are sometimes unheard of. Being on social media allows B2B companies to connect with B2B buyers and also end users on a more personal and interactive manner. Instead of waiting for buyers to go search for your website and information when they need you, you most reach out to them, so that you would be the first company they seek when the need arises.
Educating potential consumers via Social Media
B2B products usually require detailed explanations and demonstrations. A corporate blog or a YouTube page that provides digital educational material would allow B2B buyers to learn about your products in their own time. Therefore, it is necessary to make your content full of fun and easily digestible. If they need a wordy and boring essay of how your product works, they might as well go to your corporate website. Allow them to ask questions and provide feedback through comments, which you should also reply to promptly. Save time, no need to give long presentations and demos.
Creating visibility Online
Visibility can be enhanced through a blog and conversations with your fans on social networks. Every blog post or social media profile is a new link that would be indexed by the search engines. However, relying on these techniques would take a long time to build visibility. What we really want to achieve is a multiplier effect through word of mouth – more brand mentions. Therefore, it makes sense to be on social media, attract people to talk about you in their networks and gain likeability.
Building thought leadership
Thought leadership can be built over time by say, blogging consistently on tips, issues and opinions within your industry. This is best illustrated through an example. MailChimp is a business that provides email-marketing solutions for businesses. It has a dedicated blog that provides tips and views on email marketing, and has gathered large followings on both its blog and social profiles. You must add value for your potential buyers and show that you are the expert in your field. If they consider your company as the leader that knows what it is talking about, they would purchase from you.
Gathering positive online reviews
This point basically sums up all the points above. The key idea of being on social media is to build online credibility and generate positive reviews. A review can be in the form of a blog comment, a good conversation with a customer, or even the way you handle a demanding customer via Twitter. All these reviews would be searchable on the web, acting like your advertisements. In Enquiro’s Business to Business Survey 2007, it was revealed that search engines remain the most popular source of information for B2B buyers. Besides relying on search engine marketing, creating social presence on the web could help differentiate your business from competitors.
[Reproduced from an article on http://marketinomics.com] By Satyam